It will sound slightly odd, off even, that the owners of a company will be stripped of their control, if not ownership, rights in Easyjet in a no deal Brexit. But the European Union leave no real alternative to their doing this. For the EU is horribly protectionist in certain area of the economy. One of them being airlines and who may fly where. So much for that single market and economic freedom, eh?
The basic set up is that EU owned airlines – you can have some portion of non-EU shareholders, but not a majority – are allowed to fly anywhere inside the EU. A UK airline may fly, say, Faro to Naples. A non-EU one may only fly from outside the EU into it and out again. It’s not entirely strictly that way but the general rule is if you’re in then you can be in anywhere, if you’re out then you should be coming from out to in then out again. Delta can fly US to London, London to Paris, but can’t pick up passengers on that cross channel hop. Only take those who boarded in the US to Paris.
So, what happens when we leave the EU and all those British shareholders become non-EU?
EasyJet to strip investors of voting rights under no-deal Brexit
That’s what happens.
EasyJet is primed to activate Brexit contingency plans after revealing its ownership structure will breach Brussels aviation rules if Britain leaves the EU without a deal. The airline said EU investors, excluding those from the UK, made up 49.92pc of the shareholder register. European ownership rules stipulate more than 50pc of airlines must be owned by EU investors. This presents UK airlines with a headache, as British shareholders will no longer count. While recent Brussels regulation has given airlines a six-month grace period if Britain leaves without a deal, falling foul of such laws thereafter could see operating licences invalidated and aircraft grounded.
All of which is an interesting insight into the EU economic reality. It’s not actually about free trade, or economic efficiency. It’s about economic freedom for us within, but without that pesky competition from the rest of the world. It’s a zollverein that is. Which is odd really. For it’s to agree that economic freedom benefits all us consumers. But then to insist that pesky non-Europeans shouldn’t be allowed to contribute to our well being.
Really rather a racist concept. But then the EU is indeed racist, isn’t it? There’s something special about the relationship between a Sicilian and a Lithuanian – being European – that doesn’t apply to the Sicilian and the Tunisian. You know, racism.